Health Minister Upendra Yadav has traveled to more than 25 countries in the last one year since his appointment to the Oli cabinet. Minister Yadav traveled extensively during his previous stint as foreign minister. The earlier portfolio somehow justified his outrageous travels. However, as the country reels under dengue outbreak, and now scrub typhus, he is busy traveling to random meetings and conferences abroad. He left for New York Wednesday evening for a two-week trip. Officials told Republica that he wants to avoid the Constitution Day celebration on Friday and so the excuse for the latest travel. This is outrageous at many levels.
Minister Yadav swore to defend and work within the limits of the Constitution of Nepal 2015. He is enjoying the current role as deputy prime minister and health minister under the constitution. Yet, he hesitates to celebrate the document and instead opts to skip the Constitution Day. While this level of double standard from our politicians is not surprising, Minister Yadav has taken this absurdity to a whole new level.
Dengue has now spread across the country, and over 5,000 people have been infected. People are terrified to even go to restaurants with open space seating. Parents are scared to send their children to school for the fear of dengue infection. Yet, the minister went to the parliament on Wednesday and dismissed the dengue urgency. Doctors and staff at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital say they have received little support from Health Ministry. In addition, MBBS students have been protesting against the management at Chitwan Medical College for the last three weeks. And Minister Yadav is nowhere to be seen.
Yadav’s abdication from his duty as health minister is appalling. He has lost the moral authority to be in the cabinet. Officials at health ministry say that he goes to work two to three days a month. It is clear that he doesn’t seem to be serious to work to better the health system. All he wants to do is to keep on scaring the ruling party of protests against the constitution and keep on enjoying the perks of being in power. Yadav does not show an iota of respect for the position he holds and for the people he is supposed to be working for. Samajbadi Party that Yadav belongs to has not bothered to even ask the minister for his sheer negligence in handling dengue crisis.
Leaders like Yadav have been enjoying the fruits of people’s hard fought democracy. They proclaim to work and represent the people, but are only interested in enriching themselves. While it may be too late for PM Oli to cancel Yadav’s New York trip, he must, however, ask him to return to provide leadership in health ministry during this crisis.